Lancashire

David Hitchen: Motorbike rider jailed over GB cyclist's death

David Hitchen Image copyright Lancashire Police
Image caption David Hitchen rode for Great Britain in the 1990s, winning several international races

A motorcyclist has been jailed for causing the death of a former international cyclist.

Leighton Santos, 22, of Tonge Moor Road in Bolton, admitted causing David Hitchen's death by careless driving near Belmont, Lancashire, in 2014.

Mr Hitchen, 42, from St Helens, rode for Great Britain in the 1990s, winning national and international races, before illness cut his career short.

Santos was jailed for a total of 18 months at Preston Crown Court.

The 22-year-old received six months in prison for causing Mr Hitchen's death and a further 12 months for an offence of dangerous driving in March 2016.

Lancashire Police said Santos had been riding a Yamaha motorbike on Rivington Road when he "drifted into the opposite carriageway" and collided with Mr Hitchen.

The 42-year-old suffered serious injuries and died later in hospital.

Image copyright Lancashire Police
Image caption Santos was sentenced for causing death by careless driving and for dangerous driving in a separate offence

Santos, who also suffered serious facial injuries, claimed a second cyclist on his side of the road had forced him to swerve, but pleaded guilty to causing Mr Hitchen's death on the first day of his trial.

He was earlier found guilty at Manchester Crown Court of dangerous driving after taking police on an eight-mile pursuit that saw him reach speeds of up to 90mph (145km/h) in a 30mph (48km/h) zone.

After Santos was sentenced in Preston for both offences, Sgt Claire Pearson of Lancashire Police said his refusal to admit his part in Mr Hitchen's death had been "particularly shameful".

"He could have saved the victim's family further anguish and distress," she added.

Santos was also disqualified from driving for three years, nine months and ordered to take an extended driving test on completion of his ban.

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